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Defence manufacturing to be 'focus' of Modi's UK visit

November 07, 2015 11:53 IST

The PM will be on an official visit to the UK on Nov 12 and 13.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said bilateral cooperation in defence manufacturing would be the “prime focus” of his visit to the United Kingdom.  

The PM will be on an official visit to the UK on November 12 and 13 and will then head for Turkey to attend the G20 Summit on November 14. This will be the first visit by an Indian PM to the UK in over a decade.  

The two sides will also hold talks on clean energy, science, technology and education. UK Foreign Secretary Hammond has said the two sides might also have talks on civil nuclear cooperation.  

The PM said his visit will strengthen cooperation with a traditional friend and a major economic partner of India. “UK has the largest diplomatic presence in India and is the third largest source of foreign investment in our country. India, too, is the third largest source of FDI (in terms of the number of projects) in UK. I see immense scope for our economic and trade relations to improve…,” he said.  

The UK is home to 1.5 million people of Indian origin.  

London has already downplayed any comparison that Modi’s visit might invite with the recently concluded visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK.

UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said on Thursday that India-UK ties were more “mature” than several other of UK’s bilateral relationships. Xi, the Chinese head of state, was accorded a ceremonial reception and an official dinner with Queen Elizabeth II, while Modi will have a luncheon meeting with her.  

The highlight of the PM’s UK visit will be his address to the Indian diaspora at the Wembley on November 13.

The organisers of the event were a tad apprehensive that “Dalit Christian, Muslim, Khalistani and Left-liberal” groups might protest the PM’s address.

However, they were confident that the PM remained a popular leader among the dominant non-resident Indian Gujarati and Punjabi communities.

Organisers claimed the response to the event has been enormous.

They are also hopeful that senior ministers of the David Cameron government, if not the UK PM himself, will attend the Wembley event.

 The PM’s itinerary will include a visit the house where B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Constitution of India, stayed during his days in London.

On November 14, the PM will unveil a statue of Basaveshwara, a Lingayat saint, on the banks of the Thames.

The Lingayats are a politically significant community in Karnataka. He is also slated to visit the factory of Jaguar Land Rover, a fully owned utility of Tata Motors.  

On the G20 Summit meeting, the PM said India’s focus will be on mitigating the menace of black money, tax erosion and bringing greater transparency. He said the G20 Summit “is being held at a critical juncture” as its taking place just after the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals agenda at the United Nations, and just before discussions on climate change at COP-21 in Paris on November 30-December 1. The Summit will take up issues of climate change, terrorism, refugees, weak growth in global economy, strategies for growth and employment, investment strategies, trade, energy and financial sector resilience,” Modi said.  

UK-INDIA RELATIONS  

$3.2 bn  FDI from UK in 2013-14

4,482 jobs Indian companies have created via 74 FDI projects in UK

UK is third largest inward investor in India with equity investment of $22.32 billion (April 2000- June 2015)

UK companies employ around 691,000 across India

$15.82 bn  Two-way India-UK merchandise trade during 2013-14

Sources: High Commission of India in UK website, Indian Commerce Ministry 

Image: The Indian community groups in United Kingdom have launched a ‘Modi Express’ bus for a month-long tour around iconic landmarks to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the country in November.

Photograph: Courtesy, Resham Kotecha/Twitter

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